Alex Prager Parties in Uncanny Valley

Alex Prager, Holiday Party, 2020

With hopes dim for L.A. museums to reopen during the normally busy holiday season, LACMA has announced an outdoor art installation by Alex Prager. Farewell, Work Holiday Parties (2020) is a sculptural tableaux of hyperreal figures, created with a special effects company, installed on Smidt Welcome Plaza. I don't have an image of the actual installation (expect them to fill your Instagram feed in a couple of days), but the figures are those in Prager's photograph Holiday Party, 2020.

LACMA is clearly banking on the populist appeal of an open-air office sitcom. But Prager's work has depths that the relatively jokey Holiday Party might not suggest. She is best known for photographic conversation pieces, the sitters being living actors in elaborate costumes or realistic mannequins. Prager works, roughly, in the vein of Pictures Generation artists who take photographs of things that are fake but look kind of real—and in the tradition of Duane Hanson and Madame Tussaud. Prager's running theme is the lonely crowd; she is the street photographer of Uncanny Valley. The effect is doubly poignant in a time in which crowds = contagion.

The LACMA installation is to run Nov. 21, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021 and is free.

Alex Prager, Crowd #10 (Imperial Theatre), 2013. LACMA, gift of Sheridan Brown


Anonymous said…
Apparently this is the paid inspiration of an ad agency, DDB, and a brand of beer, Miller Lite (which is offering people free six packs).

"Miller Lite and DDB trusted me to make 15 life sculptures with complete creative autonomy. It's one of those dream collaborations that comes along once every five years or so," said Alex Prager, artist behind the Miller Lite campaign. "It touches on many things I've been exploring in my artistic practice - the line between reality and artifice and how we find ways to connect as humans through both raw emotion and performance, or projected realities. This year has been a disaster in terms of connecting with people we share common realities with, so I was very excited to work on a project that is ultimately about love and the human condition seen through an elegant and humorous lens."

A trenchant take on this completely depressing holiday season or has LACMA sunk to a newer new low?
Anonymous said…
On November 21, guests will see LACMA reopen for the first time since March, complete with a totally new outdoor exhibition.

Visitors to LACMA will find the Smidt Welcome Plaza reopened, along with outdoor dining and takeout service at Ray’s and C+M cafes, both of which will be serving special seasonal offerings. An outdoor museum shop will have special merchandise and gift items.

The museum’s three iconic, large-scale outdoor installations–Chris Burden’s Urban Light, Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, and Yoshitomo Nara’s Miss Forest–will be available to view (and snap selfies with), and they’ll be joined by a new sculptural installation work by local artist Alex Prager. . . .

Outdoor spaces at LACMA will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, starting November 21.
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